I originally had a thought to having this feature in the great debut singles series:-
mp3 : Yazoo – Only You
In some ways, it was a fluke that it all came together.
Vince Clarke had unexpectedly left the electronic band Depeche Mode, not terribly happy or comfortable with what life was like as a bona-fide pop star. He continued to write songs, one of which was a ballad called Only You which he felt could be his calling card to Mute Records in terms of being offered some sort of solo contract, possibly as a composer whose work would be performed by guest singers. He happened upon Alison Moyet, via having seen her perform with various bands around the London pub circuit, and persuaded her to record a vocal of Only You for a demo to give to Daniel Miller, the boss of Mute.
Neither the singer or performer had any great wish to make the working relationship a permanent one, but Daniel Miller felt there was real potential and more or less said he wouldn’t release it as a 45 unless there was a band or group to which it could be attributed. Thus was born Yazoo.
Only You turned out to be a bit of a slow burner, creeping into the charts at a lowly #72 on its release in mid-April 1982 , but after six weeks it had reached its peak of #2. It only dropped out of the Top 75 in mid-July and on the very same week the follow-up 45, Don’t Go, entered the Top 30. It took until the end of September 1982 before Don’t Go fell out of the charts, bringing an end to a quite incredible 27-week run of Yazoo have a single in The UK Top 75.
I hadn’t realised until doing the research that Yazoo only released four singles in the lifetime of the group – The Other Side of Love (November 1982) and Nobody’s Diary (May 1983). The fact that both of these singles also hung around the charts for an extended period is probably the reason why I thought there had been many more.
One of other great things about the debut single is it’s b-side. The fact that something so catchy and danceable was more or less thrown away is an indication that neither Vince or Alison perhaps felt Yazoo had much legs. The duo only had two songs when they went into the studio for the first time, but they wanted to hold Don’t Go back as a potential follow-up 45, and so very quickly they composed this:-
Only You was the same length on both the 7″ and 12″ releases
The best known version of the song, however, emerged when it was released as a stand-alone single in North America when what was called a dub version was created, courtesy of the French-born but NYC-based producer François Kevorkian, who became better-known the following year among the indie kids here in the UK when he turned his attention to This Charming Man.
It’s this version which really made stars of Yaz, as they were known in the States, getting to the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Play chart and crossing over into the same publication’s Black Singles chart for a number of weeks. Vince and Alison may have made for a very odd couple but there’s no disputing that they knew how to go about filling a dance floor.